Rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing

Southasia - - BRIEFINGS -

Over 100 chil­dren died in an out­break of poverty-driven dis­eases in the Thar Desert in early March. The re­gion is one of Pak­istan's poor­est and is home to some 1.3 mil­lion people, in­clud­ing a large pop­u­la­tion of Hin­dus. Life in the desert is closely linked to rain-de­pen­dent crops and an­i­mals. A drought in 2000 killed 90 per­cent of the live­stock. Ac­cord­ing to govern­ment data, rain­fall was 30 per­cent be­low the usual be­tween March 2013 and Fe­bru­ary 2014. The worst-hit towns were Di­plo, Chacro and Is­lamkot and barely had a drop of wa­ter for months.

Res­i­dents and ac­tivists say that the ef­fects of drought can be mit­i­gated by learn­ing from the ex­am­ple of coun­tries that have dry re­gions. Con­struc­tion of canals and con­ser­va­tion of rain­wa­ter are some use­ful mea­sures that could be adopted. “Rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing should be made manda­tory all over the coun­try and es­pe­cially in this part,” said Abid Channa, a lo­cal so­cial ac­tivist.

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